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IN SEARCH OF AN ARTIST

Hanging ?   Did I say hanging ?
The word was premature.
For now, a very curious thing happened, which must be recorded
even though it may sound trivial.
When I arrived at the gallery, and explained my business to
the Curator—a charming old man—he led the way down long
corridors and up winding stairs, past hundreds of fadedj ancient
miniatures, until at last we arrived at a back passage near the
gentlemen's lavatory. And here, stacked against the wall and
covered with dust, were quantities of pictures by the aforesaid
Mr. Chugtai—who, you will remember, was so notably alive.
'But why...' I began, and then stopped, for the half-formed
question might have sounded impertinent. Why, I wanted to ask,
was Mr. Chugtai sitting covered with dust outside the gentle-
men's lavatory ? He appeared to be the one and only modern
painter whose work was recognized by the artistic authorities of
Hyderabad; at any rate he was the one and only painter who
had been brought to my attention. Why this invidious position?
* We have not anywhere to hang his pictures,' said the Curator,
with a note of apology.
filfut surely there must be somewhere ?*
6 No; there is nowhere. It is a pity, because we think he is-
India's best modern painter.'
"How long have they been here ?*
*For several years.*
'And do you mean to tell me that there is not a single room in
the whole of Hyderabad city which contains a wall on which you
can hang all these works by somebody whom you describe as
India's bsst modern painter ?9
Evidently not.    It was incredible, but it was true.
Marvelling at this strange state of affairs, I b^gan to examine
the pictures. And then, there came a painful shock. For however
i^live Mr. Chugfcai miglit bs in the flesh it was only too glaringly
apparent that the life he celebrated was—judged by Western
standards—a wan aad anaemic abstraction.   It may bs claimed